Twenty Fifteen

The other night, Karin held a “Vision Casting” for Legacy Stables. This involved a gathering of her staff, volunteers, students, parents of students, board members – anybody with an interest in Karin’s Horse Connection. So I went.

The gathering served as an assessment of where the operation is, where we want it to go and what we were going to do this year to get it there. A collective New Year’s Resolutions list for the place. The evening was both fun and productive and now we’re all excited about 2015.

It got me thinking about my own equestrian goals for the coming year. I mean beyond my primary goal of Just Showing Up and Seeing What Happens.

It’s not that I haven’t set goals in the past. It’s just that I’ve been less than diligent in actually doing anything about them. Setting goals is fun. Actually doing the work to achieve the goal is another matter.

One strategy is to define your goals in such a way that you can say you’ve met them without really doing much of anything. The key here is vagueness. Relative terms such as “better” or “more” (“I will ride more this year,” “I will pay better attention to my instructor”) are very useful if you like your goals with a lot of wiggle room.

This year, I think I’ll try to be a little more specific. A list of Micro Goals that I can put an actual checkmark next to as I accomplish each one. Little bits that may or may not help support the larger Just Showing Up thing.

So here is my list:

  1. From what I understand, there might be some Dressage going on at Legacy this year. My goal is to do at least one pattern all the way through. Bonus goal: resist the impulse to move the letters around the arena just to spell a word.
  2. Attend one local open horse show and write a blog post about it.
  3. Conduct an investigation into what’s going on with my riding breeches! Specifically, why do I start to pass out right after I put them on? They didn’t do that when I first got them. There is something wrong with them.

    They didn't bother me before.

    They didn’t bother me before.

  4. Learn how to properly apply a surcingle
  5. Read one book about equestrian vaulting.
  6. Develop my own free-style vaulting routine – at the walk.
  7. Visit Chicago Vaulting in the summer and do a blog post on their new lungeing training program. Bonus goal: determine once & for all the correct spelling of lungeing.
  8. Learn how to neck rein.
  9. Walk over a cavaletti.
  10. Sponsor one horse or student at Legacy Stables.
  11. Only talk about stretching during a riding lesson if I’ve actually stretched before the riding lesson. Bonus goal: eliminate the word “should’ve” from my vocabulary.
  12. Learn to recite the names of all of Legacy’s horses to the tune of Amazing Grace.
  13. Polish my riding boots.
  14. Complete the Fundamentals of Photography course that I bought two years ago.
  15. Set up at least one riding lesson for granddaughter Aubrey. We have already discussed this.IMG_0256

I think that should keep me busy for a year.

2014 at Legacy Stables

I didn’t have a lesson last week, so I think this is a good opportunity for a slideshow presenting the past year at Legacy Stables. It’s around 3 minutes – just skimming the highlights 2014.

The slideshow features, in rough order: Winter “Own-a-Horse Camp”, Karin’s Horse Connection at the Kids & Family Expo in January, the Christoph Lensing Clinics in February, Legacy’s appearance at Up2U Expo, the new Tiny Tots vaulting class, the Trail Mix Vaulting Competition & Clinic, Legacy Stables Vaulting Competition & Clinic, Karin’s summer interns from Germany, Summer “Own-a-Horse Camp,” Legacy Stables Second Anniversary Celebration, The Legacy Rainbow, Team YAH,  Karin’s 4H club “Blaze With Grace” at Barry Count Fair, Charity and Ryan’s wedding, Trail Mix Fun Fest, the Grand Rapids Santa Parade, the Caledonia Christmas Parade and the most recent addition to the Legacy Family, Wendel and Karin’s new granddaughter, Emiliana Grace.

There was a lot more going on, but enough is enough. The items in bold blue are links to related blog posts. 

It’s been a busy, fun and rewarding year.

Music attribution: “Step On” by Jahzzar.

 

 

 

 

 

Supple Joints

For Lesson #105, Karin put me on The Horse Who is Not Dromie, a.k.a. Krystal.

Not Krystal

Not Krystal

Not Dromie.

Not Dromie.

I’ve learned to look at the bottom of their legs instead of their faces and this has helped immeasurably in the identification process. I don’t like bringing the wrong horse back to the barn.

The weather was like this:

Cold.

Cold.

So no pleasant Instruction in Open Terrain on a beautiful autumn morning. This was going to be a working lesson. And for this, I was partially fully prepared. I brought a pair of chaps because I haven’t got around to purchasing breeches that fit my current shape – if they actually make them like that.

Either these chaps are waaaay to small or there is a gap in my knowledge regarding how to apply them. I’m wondering if I grabbed the wrong ones.

But I did bring my boots. After a summer of riding in tennis shoes, I felt very equestrian-like in them. Having good, solid foot protection is a confidence booster in all walks of life.

Although, after a season of neglect, I needed a tool to help secure them to my feet.

DSC07254

Karin did indeed make us work. From her command post on top of Charley, she instructed Gerry and me to proceed around the arena at the trot (mounted) at least five times – sitting on the short side, posting on the long. 

I lost track of the count between the first and second time around, but I think Krystal and I may have completed something in the two to three range.

We weaved in and out of the pylons several times working on our precision. We also practiced backing.

Then, it was canter time. Karin demonstrated, mainly because she is psychologically incapable of sitting still on a horse for too long. Especially when she’s on Charley…

DSC07277

By the way, this Friday, November 7th, Karin and Charley will have been together for 10 years. Karin has been a serious horseperson for over 40 years, but Charley was actually the first horse she ever owned. I like to refer to their connection as the Seed That Eventually Became Legacy Stables.

Charley and Karin

Charley and Karin

Anyway…

Gerry and Habakuk cantered first. They did well, as they usually do. While Krystal and I watched the pair go around the ring, I thought, “Well, at least we have to try.”

If subsequent events are any indication, Krystal was thinking the same thing.

Because, when our turn came, I didn’t have to do much at all, except utter the word and she went right into it. It caught me by surprise, actually.

DSC07287

Karin must have noticed that because she told me to hold on to something.

It was lots of fun. However, I confessed to Karin that I felt like I was going to fall off.

“Well … your balance was good…”

It was one of those sentences that have a “but” built right into it…

“But, you need to loose up your hips and move with the horse.”

Ah, that should be the First Rule of Good Equestrianism: Move with the horse.

“You need to loosen up everything. You should ride with supple joints.”

Supple joints. For some reason, I like the sound of that.

DSC07293

 

 

A Family Reunion

cake

On Saturday, Legacy Stables held its Second Anniversary Celebration. Last Monday, Charity, the main organizer, asked if I would emcee the event. I said “yes” even though it’s not the kind of torture I’m normally accustomed to. Let’s just say talking in front of people is not my forte and leave it at that.

man at a mircophone

But nothing could stop this from being an enormously fun day. I knew it would be. Since I was unable to perform my usual function of Photographer/Generic Guy Standing Around & Available for Small But Immediate Tasks, I handed over the picture taking duty to an enthusiastic Kim (M version), Leoni’s good friend.

I taught her all she knows.

I taught her all she knows.

I taught Kim everything I knew about taking photos. This took 15 seconds:

1. It’s on auto.

2. Hit this button.

3. Put your hat on backwards.

4. Have fun.

Apparently, that was all Kim needed. She got some great pictures. Later this week, we’ll put an album of the day on Karin’s Horse Connection Facebook page.

girls with small horse

Leoni

Like any other Karin-Inspired event, we had an outline of organization, but there was a lot of improvising and, of course, the inevitable glorious chaos that comes when you’re working with twenty some horses and a small mob of kids. Charity, along with Pete and Kim (S version) did an amazing job, keeping everything going and everyone safe.

The main organizer learns that she who holds the clipboard must also have all the answers.

The main organizer learns that she who holds the clipboard must also have all the answers.

We started by introducing all the horses of Legacy Stables one by one. Karin wanted to provide a little taste of everything Legacy Stables offers, so the program also included vaulting and riding demonstrations from the different age groups.

horseback ridersvaultersOne of the highlights of day was an appearance by special guest “Kid Motivator,” Jerry Jacoby and his wife Michaela. The couple are absolute pros with a humorous, warm touch that kids connect with so easily.

man talking to child

They joked, sang, told stories, played music and got the audience – especially the kids – to interact.

performer with kids

Jerry and Michaela are good friends with Karin. While the couple have performed in the United States for decades, in the last several years, they’ve taken their act to Germany as well. Since they do not speak German, Karin translates their act from English to German for them, and then Jerry memorizes it for the performance overseas. It was a special treat having them here for the celebration.

Jerry and Micheala Jacoby

At one point in the program, Karin had an inspiration. It was actually right after the horse parade, when all the horses were still together in one place. Karin saw this as an unique photo opportunity. So we stopped the program, everyone went outside and lined up. Sort of…

And someone got this shot:

horses and people

It looks like a family reunion photo to me. In a very real way, that’s what it is.

Of course, this is only a small part of the Legacy Stables family. We could easily fill up the pasture behind us and beyond. So cool.

Team YAH also made an appearance. This is how we entered the arena:

people in pink pants

I believe it Karin’s German vaulting interns, Lisa and Debo that came up the schtick. I forgot that we were all supposed to wear black pants to enhance the illusion. So when Karin asked me what is quickly becoming the ritual pre-performance question: “That’s what you’re vaulting in?”, I guess she had a point. I was thinking shorts and tennis shoes and my Lions hat was just about the right combination for emceeing and a barrel routine, but for some reason I must have developed a mental block about the Pink Leg routine. But it was blast anyway.

The barrel routine went really well for us. We’re getting really good.

barrel routine

Karin got an opportunity to perform at the end of the barrel routine with her son-in-law, Leo.

pair on barrel with spotter

Karin’s daughter Anika and Leo are visiting from Australia for a few weeks this summer.

A proud Wendel Schmidt with daughter Anika.

A proud Wendel Schmidt with daughter Anika.

To conclude the routine, Karin did a fancy flip off the barrel with an assist from Pete.

nice landing

But we need to do a little work on synchronizing the bow:

bowing not in sync

At the end of the formal program, there was cake.

The cake was put to good use.

The cake was put to good use.

And open vaulting broke out. Belle and Marissa led a gaggle of kids through some warm up exercises:

warm up exercises

While Lisa and Debo did this flip thing with the kids because it’s fun to do:

kid flipping

And, as expected, Karin was in the clouds.

Karin waves from "up there."

Karin waves from “up there.”

The Rainbow at Legacy Stables

Just a short post to let readers who are familiar with the story behind Louis’ Rainbow that project is complete. Here is a link for those of you who haven’t heard the story: Louis’ Rainbow.

Before:

rampNow: 

IMG_8379

Karin says the assortment of colors symbolize all the different people it took to make the dream behind Legacy Stables become a reality. The John Deere green and yellow are Louis’ colors.

In our first competition, the Young at Heart Vaulters honored Louis’ memory by wearing the rainbow colors. Note the color of the pillars that bracket the team in this photo that Charity took of us marching in for our barrel routine:

Team YAH!

The view from the road:

DSC05573

And the view from Mt. Legacy:

cross and an arena

I think they’re beautiful.

arena with colorful pilliars

Master Vaulters

Yesterday, Karin informed me that we were going to start the Adult Vaulting Class. This week. Thursday night. Be there.

It seemed so sudden. Even rash.

Karin defended her decision: “We’ve been pregnant with the idea for some time…”

A flood of double entendres came to mind. All logically applicable, but none socially appropriate, so I held my tongue.

“And now it’s being born,” she completed the analogy.

Just what is the gestation period for crazy ideas?

At first, she called it “Master Vaulting Class.” I asked her not to do that. I don’t care for the expectations that accompany that label. So as a default, she settled for the mundane, but accurate “Adult Vaulting Class.” For now. Karin will not leave that alone.

I’m actually looking forward to this. Because I think it’s something I can do. If we’re willing to accept an exceedingly liberal definition of the phrase “can do.”

I’m guessing that when the average horseperson thinks of equestrian vaulting, they naturally picture the high level stuff: gymnastic sort of riders in unitards doing triples and flipping around up there like circus performers. The visually stunning, WOW stuff. And for those dedicated enough to follow the program, Karin does offer that.

But she also offers vaulting to anyone who wants to make an honest effort. In addition to her competitive vaulting team, she has vaulting programs for riders with special needs and for children as young as 2 and now, for the “seasoned” rider.

Karin explains her philosophy: “We talk about ‘adaptive’ vaulting, but really, it’s all adaptive. We adapt our approach to match the skill level and needs of the rider.”

It’s a simple idea, but to make it real takes decades of experience, accumulated knowledge and, of course, a profound dedication to the spirit of inclusion – what Karin would call “making connections.”

So, here at Legacy Stables, it’s never about what you can’t do. It’s always about what you can do. The idea is to explore the latter. And have fun doing it.

So, this is the fantasy:

vaulter dismount

This is the reality:

riding on knees

This is photoshop:

Bob upside down

This is success:

old man mounting a vaulting barrel

Because, it’s an improvement over this:

mounting vaulting barrel with help

While I won’t be doing the tree pose at the canter…

tree pose

…I’m hoping with proper diet and conditioning, that I, along with my fellow “Master Vaulters” will be able to make the most of Karin’s offer and have fun exploring what we actually can do.

almost standing on a horse

 

What Goes Up…

Equestrian vaulting routines are typically accompanied by music. I’m not sure, but I think the vaulters usually get to pick their own music. However, for my performance at Legacy Stable’s TRAIL MIX VAULTING COMPETITION & CLINIC, Leoni, Seer of the Future, chose my music.

“I picked a song for you, Bob,” she informed me a couple of hours beforehand.

“Well, thank you, Leoni. That was very kind of you.” I had forgotten about the music and I was glad she took care of that detail for me. And, of course, I had to ask what song she picked.

She smiled, not bothering to conceal the gleam in her eyes, “Oh, you’ll find out…”

Leoni thought bubble

I was hoping for something like Levitate by Hollywood Undead, but I trusted Leoni’s vaulting music judgment.

In any case, it was a monstrously fun day. The kids had a great time and I think the parents and grandparents had even more fun then the kids. Karin had recently started a Tiny Tot Vaulters program and there was a good showing of young moms and dads at the TRAIL MIX. Most of them got an opportunity to get on the horse with their kids and do some basic vaulting stuff.

And as usual, Karin infused some creative chaos into the day’s events, this time in the form  of a rally where four teams made up of mixed ages dressed up themselves and a horse/pony/donkey and then ran around doing various stunts and things.

Karin's Creative Chaos

Karin’s Creative Chaos

Both Karin and Michelle, my human competitors, performed well in the Raisin & Salt Class. Karin even went upside down once. I’m pretty sure it was on purpose.

The Flip Side of Karin

The Flip Side of Karin

While some of the kids where doing higher level vaulting stuff, the day was more or less a dress rehearsal for the upcoming vaulting season, so while there was judging for feedback purposes, the emphasis wasn’t on actual competition. In fact, at the end of the day, we got to pick what color ribbon we wanted. You should have seen those hands shoot up for the blue.

That didn’t mean there weren’t challenges. I, for one, only had a vague idea of what I was supposed to do. In my previous lesson, “I’m Not Crazy” Pete took me through the six compulsory vaulting moves, but I could only remember three and that included one I wanted to forget.

not crazy t-shirt

But my big challenge of the day came when my old arch-nemesis reappeared. That’s right: that S.O.B. Gravity was at TRAIL MIX. And he was in playful mood. And I was the toy.

The moment Pete launched me up on to Avenir, I heard the first few notes of the bass in the music Leoni picked for me and I realized that she could see into the future:

BA-DA-Dump-Dump-Dump…

BA-DA-Dump-Dump-Dump…

Another One Bites the Dust…

In response, I performed my Dead Man Walking Seat:

dead man walking seat

For a while, things went pretty good. I did my version of the flag:

tilted flag move Then Karin got Avenir into a Canter. So I did basic seat that way.

basic seat at the canter

You’re only supposed to hold for four strides, but I was enjoying this part so I just kept in that pose for a couple of full circles. Then…

Then it was time to go “up.”

standing on a horse

Or, as I remember it:

flybob

My cruel nemesis let me have my moment and then, as expected, Gravity sought to collect his due by using planet Earth to punch me in the face.

When I was coming down, my main concern was that I was going to land on top of Pete’s head. There just wasn’t enough room up there for me. I was really concerned about hurting his neck. He’s an athletic guy, for sure, but I just think it would have been uncomfortable for both us.

Anyway, Pete broke my fall and we were both okay. I got back on because I wasn’t particularly busy with anything else at the moment and it seemed like the right thing to do.

Later, Pete told me, “We taught you how to go up, but we didn’t teach you how to come down.”

I thought he meant they forgot to teach me how to fall properly. Which I’ve always considered a private matter between Gravity and me. But what he meant was that there is a proper way to go from standing on a horse to sitting on a horse and that it’s not really necessary to involve the ground at all.

I like that kind of thinking. In my next lesson, we worked on exactly that.

Over a Barrel

For Lesson #92, I was treated to some vaulting instruction by Pete.

Yes, he vaults. But he's not crazy.

Yes, he vaults. But he’s not crazy.

This was a good thing because Karin’s big TRAIL MIX VAULTING COMPETITION AND CLINIC was in two days and I was participating. By order of the high command.

I was going to be up against some fierce competition. Karin divided the event into age groups and because of an obvious computer malfunction, I ended up being grouped with the old people – or in TRAIL MIX terminology “Raisins & Salts”.

Now that doesn’t sound so bad, until you realize that this group included Karin Herself and Michelle, one of Legacy Stables biggest supporters and a Mom of a vaulter.

Michelle:  Mom of Vaulter

Michelle: Mom of Vaulter

What chance did I have against a Coach and a Mom?…  Neither of which are all that old! Quite young, actually!… And nice!

Actually, Karin didn’t even know she was competing until I told her that I saw her name on the class list. Charity entered her name on the spreadsheet when Karin was distracted by other matters. As Legacy Stables grows and Karin’s attention is spread in more directions, we should be able to put her name on all kinds of things.

I started warming up on the barrel before Pete got into the arena. I got up by taking a running start and just sort of hurling myself across the top of the barrel. And then adjusted accordingly.

When I repeated the technique for Pete, he told me that wasn’t quite how you’re supposed to do it. You have to stand next to the barrel and sort of power your way up there using the spring in your legs and lots of arm/shoulder muscling. After a couple of inevitable failed attempts, he allowed me to launch from a small trampoline.

We then proceeded through the six compulsory movements. I don’t quite remember what each was called, other than basic seat:

 basic seat

And the flag:

 the flag

I should have been jotting some of this down, but I didn’t seem to have a free hand most of time I was up there. However, we did break for a strategy session, immediately after I successfully transitioned my right leg over the handles and to the other side of the barrel in three easy steps.

Strategy session.

Strategy session.

In this one, Pete and I demonstrate how the artistic interpretation of a movement can vary from vaulter to vaulter:

two men on vaulting barrels

After working on the barrel, we went through the sequence again on Avenir.

This one…

man on vaulting barrel

…looked different on the horse….

man on vaulting horse

And you can’t just get up there and do the stuff. They expect you do things like breath, smile and not swear very much. Kim said she was glad the pictures didn’t have audio to accompany them, but I believe that was in reference to the inadvertent noises one makes in response to well-meaning torture and not to any discernable words or phrases I may have uttered.

Sure, I can manage an occasional smile, if you count the grimaces. My default vaulting expression is best described as “clear confusion.” I’m never quite sure what to do next. I require everything step-by-step like you do in the game Twister.

Karin got some instruction from Pete as well.

woman on vaulting barrel

I wasn’t sure why the vaulting coach needed vaulting instruction, especially two days before a big competition against me.

woman on vaulting horse

As it turned out, there was someone else who I should have feared more than Karin. On Saturday, an old nemesis of mine, a familiar but fearsome foe, made a dramatic appearance during the Raisin & Salt class.

But I’ll tell you about that next time.

two men standing on vaulting barrel

Keeping it Clean

Following one of my recent lessons, Karin asked for help changing the water in the troughs.  But instead of doing it the easy way and just picking up the trough on one end and dumping it, we had to gently remove the old water using buckets.

old water in trough

While I appreciate what water has done for life on our planet, I thought this level of respect was a little excessive. But when in Rome – or at Legacy Stables – you follow the customs of the locals and hope that at some point it makes sense.

I noticed that both Karin and Kathy were examining the water in their buckets before they tossed it. Swishing it around as if they were panning for gold. So I followed suit, searching for something without knowing exactly what I was looking for, but feeling confident that I would know it when I found it.  Analogous to life, I suppose.

After some minutes of bailing and panning, Kathy said, “Ah… here’s one.”

I was happy Kathy found one. I like success, whatever the details. The next step was to learn what “one” was.

I peeked into her bucket and saw it.

goldfish in bucket

It was a fish. A goldfish. There were more in the trough.

Don't worry, he's alive.

Don’t worry, he’s alive.

How did these fish get there? A number of scenarios went through my mind, the most interesting referenced the scene from Tom Cruise’s movie Magnolia in which frogs fell from the sky. Inexplicably.

No, there was a simpler explanation. Somebody put the fish in the trough. But why?

“They’re algae eaters,” Karin explained. “They help keep the troughs clean.”

I never knew this, but as algae grows and decomposes, it can become toxic to the horses. The horses detect the toxins and will refuse to drink the contaminated water.  You still have to change out the water periodically and clean the troughs, but the fish serve as little sanitation officers in the meantime.

It’s a symbiotic relationship. The fish get plenty to eat and a nice place to live, and the horses get clean water. And they don’t seem to be bothered by each others’ presence.  I watched as Snoopy took a drink with the fish swimming just millimeters from his mouth. It almost seemed like he appreciated having these little guests in his water.

horse and fish

I like it when mammals get along this way with other classes of animals. Us vertebrates need to stick together.

horse drinking water

A Parade and a Project

For Lesson #80, I was turned loose on a self-study program.  With the Santa Parade coming up on Saturday and a Lantern Walk scheduled for Sunday evening, I knew Karin was going to be overwhelmed with preparations and I even considered calling and cancelling my lesson to give her a break. But I showed up anyway, figuring I could ride on my own. I assured her that Goldie and I would be fine alone.

big crayon and a horse

We trotted a little and practiced a bit of backing. And we picked up one of the big crayons to see what that was like.  I discovered that holding a big crayon, steering a horse properly and taking good photos all at once presents a unique set of problems. But we had a nice time together anyway.

Later, Karin asked if I would like to walk with the vaulting team in the parade. I felt honored, but I suggested that perhaps it would be more useful for me to take photos. She agreed.

The day of parade was butt-kicking cold. The air temp when I arrived downtown was 27 degrees Fahrenheit.  There was a healthy breeze blowing through town, so it felt like – I dunno – maybe closer to 7 degrees Fahrenheit. I thought A Vaulting Connection might even bow out of the parade.

That shows you what I know. Vaulters don’t do any kind of bowing until they’re done performing. I can’t tell you how impressed I was with this group when I got to the staging area. Karin had a great turn out.

vaulters

They would proceed in two sections. The first section included two horses (three counting Peanut) with several vaulters rotating on and off. The second section consisted of a float with kids using a vaulting barrel.

parade float with vaulting barrel

One of the parents commented that given the conditions, he was surprised how upbeat the group was and that no one seemed to be whining about the cold. I can assure him that at least one person was whining about it.  I ended up putting on my gloves, despite the fact that this made manipulating the camera more awkward.

boots off, vaulting shoes on

After taking a few photos of the preparations at the staging area, I scooted over to the parade route and staked out a good spot to snap pictures.  I took off my gloves, made sure the camera was on auto – because out of all the little nobs and settings on that thing, that’s only one I understand – and then put my gloves back on. I thought I was all ready when the parade started.

Then something wonderful happened.

Near the head of the parade, the Elmo balloon was off to a magnificent start…

Elmo in parade

… but a half a block must have been enough for him and he decided to lay down…

Elmo falling

Workers scrambled to rouse Elmo, but he was acting stubborn.

Elmo down

Meanwhile, the parade must go on. So they did what I would have done: they dragged Elmo face down through the streets of Grand Rapids.

Elmo face down in streets of Grand Rapids

Elmo face down

I haven’t seen anything that funny since Captain Kirk wrestled the Gorn.

Captain Kirk wrestles the Gorn

I was really hoping that Elmo would finish the parade in the Facedown Fashion.  Perhaps even start a new tradition?

However, the skilled handlers managed to get him up and going again and he finished strong. Darn, I would have paid anything to hear the eightWest ladies parade commentary on Drag Me Elmo.

Elmo rises

Amid all the excitement, my clumsy gloved fingers inadvertently knocked the setting nob on my camera and made it go from “auto” to “P.” And this – unknown to me – is the setting at which I took close to 300 parade photos of Karin’s vaulters.

Legacy Stable in parade

I don’t even know what “P” means. Maybe, purple?

camera on auto setting

For their part, the vaulters were nothing short of awesome. As cold as it was, they were there to perform and you could tell they were having a great time. These kids absolutely exuded that characteristic poise and personality that is so unique to equestrian vaulting. The crowd loved them.  It was so much fun to watch.

vaulter in parade

vaulters on parade

vaulters on TV

I actually left my spot and followed along side them through the entire parade route, blissfully clicking away on “P.” They were moving along at a pretty good pace and I had to trot a little to stay with them.  A few times, I slipped on the ice a bit and almost ended up like Elmo.

vaulter

IMG_5060

I was so focused (unlike my camera) on staying with them that I entirely forgot about Section II, the float with the vaulting barrel.  So I didn’t get many pictures of those kids.  I really felt bad about that, until I realized that they would have been on “P” as well.

upside down vaulter

In a way, the “P” setting was somewhat appropriate because it helped make everyone appear a little colder.  Really captured the ambience of the morning.  I’ve always had a knack for inadvertent art. But still, they weren’t the photos I was hoping for.

Clearly, I need to get better at taking photographs. Right now, my modus operandi is to take a bazillion pictures and hope I end up with a few I can use.  While I know this is not an uncommon practice, I want to do better. In fact, I’m going to make this my new equestrian project. My old project was the Stand Up Project – standing on a moving horse. Technically, I achieved that earlier this year.

DAMNIAMSTANDINGONAMOVINGHORSE

I declare that the Stand Up Project is officially completed. The Excellence in Equestrian Picture Taking Project begins this week. So here goes another self-study program…

camera self study